City Employee Allegedly Stealing City Money

by Professor Byron L. Warnken on April 29, 2010

Fox 45 television interviewed me last week about an interesting story that its news crew broke.  The story goes like this.

A Baltimore City employee was convicted of a sex offense in 2008.  He was sentenced to 18 months and required to register as a sex offender.  He was incarcerated for eight months before being released.  Allegedly, while the City employee was in jail, co-workers ensured that he remained on the payroll, placing him on “sick leave” and producing doctors’ notes.  During this time, he would have earned between $10,000 and $15,000.  When the City employee was released from incarceration, he went back to work, where his City co-workers welcomed him back from his “operation” and “hospitalization.”

On first blush, it seems that no one in the City was the wiser.  Perhaps, in certain bureaucracies, you can be out on sick leave for months at a time, and no one suspects anything unusual.  Were supervisors “in on the plan?”  Moreover, apparently, his mother, now retired, worked where her son worked.

The Baltimore City sex offender employee returned to work in 2009.  Then, in January 2010, the sex offender was arrested for a second time.  This time, the charges included fourth degree sex offense, false imprisonment, and impersonating a police officer.

How could a City employee be convicted of a sex offense and be a registered sex offender with the City not learning of this?  How could a City employee be off the job for many months with no one suspecting or requiring him to personally appear and produce evidence of his medical situation?

As a defense attorney, I certainly could mount viable defenses.  For the conspiracy charges, the prosecution must have proof that he entered into an agreement with others for the purposes of being paid for work never intended to be performed.  What was discussed in the Fox clip was circumstantial evidence, at best.  Furthermore, in this case, I have not heard evidence that someone, under his direction, or with his knowledge and intent, caused money to be directed away from the City and to him.  I haven’t even heard that he actually received any money.

Even though my Firm and I handle criminal defense, I am also a law professor.  Ultimately, proving a crime is about proving the elements.  I would imagine the law professor in me could make arguments the other way as well.

Possible future criminal cases aside, there is administrative law at play here as well.  Chances are that this man won’t be keeping his job.  Of course, it is Baltimore City.

Kudos to Fox45 for breaking this interesting story.

{ 1 comment }

student grants May 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm

What a great resource!

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